Sunday afternoon we stopped by a local dining spot for a Linner (late Lunch, early Dinner). As we walked in we passed a group that was seated at a corner booth – 4 blond women and two children, one who looked to be 10-12 with an arm in a sling and another who appeared to be 5-6. The younger child made a motion like he was throwing something in our direction (we were actually walking behind the booth and elevated about 4 steps above them with a half wall between us). What I didn’t know at the time was that he actually threw something (perhaps a piece of his bread?) at us and hit my wife!!
Our first reaction was that the kid was simply obnoxious. But after a few minutes of observation, we realized that not only was he obnoxious, but his mother was completely clueless! He was out of control, walking away from the table, up the stairs and around the half wall – all the way to the front door as far as we, or his mother if she cared, could tell. Occasionally she would call for him but even when he didn’t respond (likely because he was well out of ear shot) she would continue on with her conversation, never getting up or looking too concerned.
After watching him crawl under the table, stand on another of the ladies’ purse, and yell loudly (luckily Linner is not a crowded time at this establishment), Jen and i remarked several times about how well our boys were being. Sure, it is all relative but I was more than relatively pleased that the wild child was not ours.
After the other group left, we made sure to compliment out boys on their good behavior. We believe in taking notice and making mention of the good and the bad. But we also agreed that as much as the kid was the focus of our attention for throwing food and running wild, it was indeed the mother with which we were most astonished. It was her that we felt was responsible for the poor display of control and discipline. Shoot, forget discipline, simple courtesy and etiquette in a dining room. Take charge, take control and be the parent. Pretty simple, right?